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Origami Self Portraits

I was taught Origami when I was very young by my mother, who is Japanese Canadian. I was recently inspired by a video that my brother made to show how to make an Origami Butterfly as part of the International Children's Festival of the Arts in St. Albert (Alberta) to celebrate Children's Day in Japan. I was inspired to make one since it was a slightly different design than I knew. I used a piece of paper that had a photo of my face on it. Disappointedly, the image became hidden within the folds of the design but I knew that I needed to map out my designs according to where I wanted the facial features to land on the finished piece. This sparked an entire new series which also led to new masks incorporating the Origami. 

My origami self-portraits have been displayed at:

"I Am What I Am" group exhibit at Ice House Gallery, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia (August 2021)

"TRAHC's 33rd Annual Juried Exhibition" at TRAHC/Regional Arts Center; Texarkana, Texas (September 2021)


"Origami: The Art of Paper Folding" virtual exhibit hosted by the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Gallery in Toronto, Ontario:  Oct 5th, 2021- Feb 1st, 2022. 
They write about my work: 


"Miya Turnbull's origami works are an extended self-portrait exploration that complement her more traditional mask forms. There is a kind of surreal quality - a sense of displacement or altered reality in Miya's work as her photographic image is revised, reformed and altered and used to mask her visage.

The graphic power of the multiple sets of eyes, nose and mouth staring back at you is at once disquieting and intriguing. You feel as though you are being watched a well as watching. There is a sense of playful whimsey as well that belies the meticulous care needed to create these folded self-portraits."

This was also an in-person exhibit: 

Origami- The Art of Paper Folding

Featuring the art of Mui-Ling Teh and Miya Turnbull

Feb 23rd - April 22, 2022

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Gallery

Toronto, Ontario

Opening reception: April 3rd, 2-4pm

My origami was also on exhibit at Still Life with Fruit Gallery, DeLand, Florida: Feb 18th-21st, 2022

and at: 

Kishka Gallery, White River Junction, Vermont: April 1st- May 1st, 2022

Wearing the origami self-portraits as masks or partial masks:


In the past, I've used the same technique on dolls that I have done on the masks- using photo collage to make the faces.


When I have extra 'eyes and lips' from either project (masks or dolls), I've made 2D collage, mixed media artwork.